Not too long ago, Sigma sent me their new SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports lens to test. I found this lens interesting for a couple of reasons, 1. this is the world’s first and only mirrorless 10x ultra-telephoto zoom, and 2. 60-600mm is a super long range for any lens, and I just had to give this lens a try. I tested this lens for video use and as a birding photography lens. After my first attempts at capturing some decent bird photography, I need to give a shout-out of mad respect to those who capture dynamic bird photography well.
First, The SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports was designed to be the essential lens for travel, outdoor sports, wildlife, and safari that can cover it all from standard to ultra-tele without ever swapping lenses. Though the lens may be physically bigger than most lenses in my camera kit, the extra size was well worth it. You cannot argue against having a lens that can go all the way to 600mm. I love the reach of a good long lens.
600mm is the kind of focal length that needs an impressive optical stabilizer, or you will see every single bounce in the tripod in the video. A small vibration can cause a huge bounce at 600mm if you don’t have a good stabilizer, your footage will suffer. Lord knows how often I stood on a Press riser shooting an event only to have someone trying to walk about the riser, causing every video shooter to bounce that dreaded image.
The SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports offers an impressive six stops of Optical Stabilization at the telephoto end and seven stops at the standard end. The in-lens stabilizer is enough to counteract any bounce or vibration at 600mm. The OS is well thought out and just right for the SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports lens.
The stabilizer function employs SIGMA’s newly developed algorithm “OS2”. The new algorithm significantly improves image stabilization performance, with seven stops at the wide end and six stops at the telephoto end.
The 60-600mm has two OS modes: Mode 1 is suitable for general shooting, and Mode 2 is best for fast panning shots. In Mode 2, an acceleration sensor combined with SIGMA’s Intelligent OS, an algorithm specially designed for panning shots, enable effective image stabilization even when the camera is moved vertically or diagonally, regardless of the horizontal and vertical orientation of the lens. This means that the movement of the subject can be expressed without losing the effect of panning shots.
Any lens with any kind of reach, like the SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports, will be pretty beefy. Make no mistake, the SIGMA 60-600mm is a big lens. Is the lens too much for some smaller shooters? To answer this question, we need to break the answer into two parts: video and photography.
As a video shooter, the SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports lens is big but has much going on for video shooters like myself. There are many situations when I need an ultra-telephoto lens to give me a decent medium or mid-shoot. Still, those situations have my camera and lens on a fluid-head tripod meant for video. Only in some cases would I even attempt to shoot without a tripod, and even then, I am likely to think, “Just get the tripod; it’ll be better.” For video, this lens should mostly be used with a tripod. The weight and length of the lens lend themselves to tripod work over hand-held shooting.
As a photographer, I found using a tripod to be too limiting to capture what I wanted to capture and do so quickly. In all seriousness, birds move very quickly, and a tripod, even a video tripod, made it harder for photography. Hand-held was the way to test Sigma’s optical stabilizer on the 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports lens. At 60mm, the lens is at its shortest, and at 600mm, it nearly extends to twice the length. While the 60-600mm is long, it can be used hand-held if you need to move quickly. I will say the 60-600mm will feel pretty heavy after a short while. Ultimately you may end up on a tripod due to the weight of the Sigma lens.
How about the focus? A lens this long kind of makes me expect it will have a pretty killer auto-focus system. I mean, you make a lens for sports and wildlife to have reach and a super fast AF, right? Otherwise, what is the point? In the case of the 60-600mm Sigma designed the HLA (High-response Linear Actuator) focusing motor to deliver fast and precise autofocusing. This high-output linear motor and advanced electronic control realize a quiet autofocus with unparalleled high speed and high precision. The new motor also enables high focus-following performance, ensuring that the decisive moment is not missed in sports photography and any other situation where the subjects are in motion.
I found the autofocus to be fast and very quiet. The autofocus is fast enough for me not to be a terrible bird photographer, and, honestly, is that not the reason for fast autofocus. Make me better AF. Make me better.
SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports Optics
It’s all about the optics. In the case of the 60-60mm SIGMA employed the latest optical design to effectively correct chromatic aberrations that tend to occur in the ultra-telephoto range using a variety of high-quality materials, including FLD and SLD glass elements. The lens is capable of capturing every moment with uncompromising high image quality in the unique focal length range of 60-600mm. Sharpness abounds with the Sigma 60-600mm.
The minimum focusing distance is 45cm at the wide end, and at the focal length of 200mm, the lens offers a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.4, allowing users to also enjoy the lens as a telephoto macro lens, adding to its overall versatility.
Price and Availability
The SIGMA 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS | Sports will be offered for $1,999 through authorized SIGMA America retailers, and will be available beginning mid-February, 2023.
Sigma 60-600mm Features:
- Lens construction: 27 elements in 19 groups (2 FLD and 3 SLD)
- OS (Optical Stabilizer) function
- Inner focus system
- Compatible with high-speed autofocus
- HLA (High-response Linear Actuator)
- Compatible with Lens Aberration Correction
- * Function available on supported cameras only. Available corrections and auto correction functionality may vary depending on the camera model.
- * On cameras where lens aberration correction is controlled with ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’ in the camera menu, please set all aberration correction functions to ‘ON’ (AUTO).
- Support for DMF, AF + MF
- Compatible with AF assist (Sony E-mount only)
- Super Multi-Layer Coating
- Water and Oil Repellent Coating (front element)
- AFL button
- * Only on compatible cameras. Available functions may vary depending on the camera used.
- Focus Limiter switch
- Focus Mode switch
- OS switch
- Custom Mode switch
- Zoom Lock switch
- Dust and Splash Resistant Structure
- Hood (LH1144-02)
- Tripod Socket TS-121 (replaceable lens foot type)
- Compatible with SIGMA TELE CONVERTER TC-1411 / TC-2011 (sold separately / for L-Mount only)
- Compatible with SIGMA USB DOCK UD-11 (sold separately / for L-Mount only)
- Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
- Every single lens undergoes SIGMA’s proprietary MTF measuring system
- 9-blade rounded diaphragm
- High-precision, durable brass bayonet mount
- “Made in Japan” craftsmanship